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Educating Strengths but Covering the Basics

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by , 12-15-2010 at 12:18 AM (3827 Views)
Educating Strengths, but Covering the Basics
by Jamie
During the past year, I have become aware of the strengths based educational movement, and have tried to educate my children with a positive strength to strength mentality. Yet, as one of my friends recently questioned me, how do we focus on strengths, but educate to cover the basics?
My personal viewpoint of educating strengths in elementary school has grown and changed over the past months. My focus for young children especially kindergarten and elementary students is to educate and build responsibility across all subjects. Yes, the child may not be strong in language arts, but they need language arts to be able to pursue their other strengths. The basics are necessary to enable the child to pursue their strengths as they get older.
This scenario was real in our homeschool this year. My fourth daughter entering Kindergarten this year had an obvious strength in math. She loved numbers – counting, adding, and even subtracting- but she really didn’t like reviewing the letter names and sounds and trying to put them together into blends and words. It was tough getting her to take the responsibility of learning her letters. She enjoyed using her math program, but had to be encouraged to complete the Language Arts portion of school each day. One day we were able to have a talk about how learning to read would help her be able to study numbers, science, and other things that she really enjoyed. Though it didn’t make it any easier for her, it did help change her attitude. Looking at learning her letters in the positive light of it being a stepping stone to greater things helped her realize the meaning behind the needful Language Arts lessons.
I am still learning how to adjust our home education in the light of strengths education, but so far it has been an amazing positive change. What do you think about strengths based education?

Updated 12-15-2010 at 01:26 AM by thegaddy5

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  1. MamaMary's Avatar
    Great Article!

    What you just described IS exactly Strengths based education! We equip our children with a strong foundation in their education AS we pursue strengths. The difference in our home is that more time, finances and energy is spent pursuing those things that God naturally made my child strong in.

    For instance, my oldest son struggled tremendously in math. Before I understood Strengths based education most of our time and finances went to equipping this weak area as we hired tutors, changed to big expensive fancy programs, etc..., At the end of that first year we found that he didn't score any better than he had when we had simply used Time4Learning. MORE did not mean results, bit just meant MORE. (sigh)

    After learning about pursuing strengths we found that he thrived in debate, public speaking, book clubs, anything that allowed him to use his strong gifts of communication. So the next year we still worked on math, but no more tutor. (He didn't do any better after one year anyway) and no more big fancy programs, instead we did 30 minutes a day on math, worked through concepts he didn't understand (within that 30 minutes) and moved on.

    Our time and money went to doing those things that energized him, made him feel successful and WOW! His math actually did better when we flipped the switch. Giving a weakness more time and attention most times will not make it stronger. For us, we found that instead it made everything else watered down. Strengths became medicore and weaknesses never made the gains I had so hoped for.

    Thank you for posting this article today Jaime! It energized me just responding, LOL
  2. thegaddy5's Avatar
    Thanks so much Mary... I am really enjoying learning more about strengths based education AND seeing the impact it has on our children. You are right focusing more on the weakness really doesn't make it better - it usually just makes more stressed out kids!